Litigants, judicial system benefiting from online case filing system
China's top court said on Tuesday that more than 10 million cases were filed online last year, which made settling legal matters more convenient for litigants and helped improve judicial efficiency.
Compared with initiating a lawsuit offline, the online filings helped litigants and their lawyers save about 1.6 billion yuan ($247 million) in commuting costs, and they spent 4.86 million fewer hours in court, according to Xu Jianfeng, director of the information center at the Supreme People's Court.
Xu said judicial efficiency has also improved a lot since technologies have become widely used in court-related affairs.
Chinese courts so far have connected with more than 10 government agencies and over 3,900 banks through the internet, he said.
Thanks to the platform, judges can learn about litigants' possessions — including bank accounts, real estate and the equity they have — more quickly to prevent them from being transferred before court rulings are made, he said.
"In the past, we needed at least two judges at a time to visit a bank or financial institutes to sort out someone's property holdings, but now such work can be done by just clicking a mouse," he said, adding the platform has helped courts save on labor costs and has improved efficiency.
Meanwhile, courts nationwide have also set up other online platforms in recent years to ease access to litigation matters and materials, including trials, evidence exchanges and mediation proceedings by making use of the internet, according to Xu.
"But some legal services on the platforms are not unified," he said. "For instance, some platforms ask litigants to provide electronic identity cards to ensure they are who they say they are, but some require identification using facial recognition technology."
He added the top court will regulate the platforms and upgrade technologies to improve the quality of legal services and ensure the public can enjoy more convenience.